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‘Cold weather’ the No 1 barrier to skiing holidays for Hong Kong people, survey finds; those who do go spend big and see it as status boost

by Staff

Hongkongers’ number one choice of destination for skiing trips is Japan, according to the survey by Club Med, which describes itself as a global leader in snow holidays.

Club Med Sahoro, an all-inclusive resort in Hokkaido, Japan. Photo: Club Med

The survey, conducted in September 2023, found that of the 511 Hongkongers interviewed – all between the ages of 24 and 64 and having been on a snow holiday in the past five years or planning one in the next two years – 39 per cent selected Japan as their most favoured destination, followed by Switzerland (30 per cent) and Canada (29 per cent).

They anticipate spending HK$4,800 (US$615) per day on travel, which is the same as those interviewed for the survey from Malaysia, but more than the anticipated spending of respondents from all the other markets covered: South Korea, Singapore, Japan, mainland China and Taiwan.

Saint Moritz in Switerland, the country that is the second most favoured destination among those in East Asia who have recently taken a skiing holiday or plan to. Photo: Club Med

“Hongkongers are more interested in travelling to Japan since the yen dropped last year,” said Stuart de Bourgogne, the general manager of Club Med Hong Kong and Taiwan.

“They have higher travel budgets than people from other parts of Asia-Pacific, and they love all-inclusive resorts.”

Taken as a whole, the 3,548 survey respondents also identified Japan (40 per cent), Switzerland (39 per cent) and Canada (27 per cent) as the most desired ski or snowboard destinations, with mainland China in fourth place, at 24 per cent, the latter “mainly driven by the domestic market as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan markets”, according to the Club Med Asia Snow Report.

Snowboarders on a slope in Tomamu, Hokkaido, Japan. Photo: Getty Images

Half of respondents cited “a desire for exhilarating winter sports and captivating snow-covered landscapes” as their primary motivators for hitting the slopes.

But the mainland Chinese tend not to be so keen on snow holidays.

Mainland travellers experience more barriers to reaching ski resorts than other respondents and also have aversions to cold-weather wear, getting hurt while out on the slopes and the boredom involved when there is “nothing to do except ski or snowboard”.

Snow holiday destinations being too far away, not having enough leave and language barriers were other reasons that made such trips unpopular and “not trendy”.

The most popular destination among mainland Chinese travellers for winter trips was home. Japan was their least favourite destination.

Club Med Kiroro Peak in Hokkaido, Japan. Those surveyed by Club Med who had children have a higher preference for staying in such all-inclusive resorts when taking winter holidays. Photo: Club Med

When heading to Asian snow destinations, holidaymakers from within the region are expecting to be away from home on average for eight days, while 12 days is the anticipated length for skiing holidays in Europe.

More than 68 per cent of the respondents prefer to stay in hotels and resorts for their snow holidays, with a higher preference for all-inclusive resorts seen among those with children.

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The survey finds that six to eight years old is considered the ideal age for children to start learning winter sports, and 84 per cent of Hong Kong respondents believe snow resorts should have kids’ clubs, ranking second only to those in mainland China (85 per cent).

Overall, the report indicates that travellers are looking for more than just access to skiing and snowboarding during a snow holiday. They are also seeking comfortable accommodation, delicious cuisine, family-friendly activities and festive après-ski entertainment.

Additional reporting by Mia Castagnone

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